Adult Learning and Leadership MA

Master of Arts in Adult Learning and Leadership


Lifelong learning for adults is an increasingly important educational specialization in the 21st century. Rapid changes are transforming society and making it critical for adults to continue to learn across the lifespan. Much of that learning takes place in classrooms, but a lot of learning also occurs informally through interaction in groups, communities, organizations, and social networks.

The Adult Learning & Leadership program, at the M.A. level, prepares professionals who facilitate learning within and outside the classroom. The intellectual framework of the program examines the relationship of adult learning to organizational, management and leadership issues. The program prepares students to understand adult learning and development, to design and deliver learning interventions, and to assist organizations, communities, or other institutions to support learning for individuals and for the organizations or other social units that benefit from the lifelong learning of its members.

A graduate student smiles while she makes a point in a discussion with her peers at TC.

Admissions Information

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 36
  • Entry Terms: Fall Only

Application Deadlines

  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer/Fall (Priority): January 15
  • Summer/Fall (Final): April 15

Supplemental Application Requirements/Comments

  • None

Requirements from the TC Catalog

View Full Catalog Listing

The M.A., Ed.M., and Ed.D. programs in Adult Learning and Leadership are structured around a sequence of core courses, research requirements and electives.

Each program has between two and three required foundations courses. In addition, students may choose courses to take in the areas of adult development, adult learning theory and applications, program development and evaluation, systems learning, leadership, strategy and management, human resource development, group dynamics, organizational behavior, technology, conflict resolution, and research. At least one course is to be taken (or in some cases, can be transferred from prior accredited graduate study) in each of these twelve areas, no matter what the degree level. Many of these courses are offered by the ADUL Program or the O &L Department; other courses can be taken elsewhere in Teachers College or Columbia University.

Foundations (6-9 credits, depending on degree program):

  • ORLD 4050 Introduction to adult and continuing ed (3)
  • ORLD 4053 Facilitating adult learning (3)
  • ORLD 5057 Adult learning & ed: Theory & practice (3)

Adult Development (3-6 credits, depending on degree program):

  • ORLD 4051 How adults learn (3)
  • ORLD 5070 Leadership for adult development (3)
  • HUDK 4024 Developmental psychology: Adult learning and the lifespan (3)
  • HUDK 5023 Cognitive development (3)
  • HUDK 5027 Moral development (3)
  • HUDK 5028 Spiritual development across the lifespan (3)

Adult Learning Theory and Applications (6-14 credits, depending on degree program):

  • ORLD 4060 Coaching from an adult learning perspective (3)
  • ORLD 4091 Somatics: Mind/body approach to leadership development (3)
  • ORLD 4815 Developing critical thinkers (1)
  • ORLD 4827 Fostering transformative learning (2-3)
  • ORLD 4828 Imagination, authenticity, and individuation in transformative learning (2-3)
  • ORLD 4844 Helping adults learn (1)
  • ORLD 4850 Discussion as a way of teaching (1)
  • ORLD 4855 Learning as a way of leading (1)
  • ORLD 5057 Adult learning and education: Theory and practice (3)
  • ORLD 5815 Critical theory and adult learning (1)

Program Development and Evaluation (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5053 Developing and managing adult learning programs (3)
  • ORL 5522 Evaluation methods I (3)

Systems Learning (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5823 Building 21st century organizational capability with cultural intelligence (CQ) (3)
  • ORLD 5550 Research on organizational learning (3)
  • ORLD 5061 The learning organization (3)
  • ORLJ 4800 Conflict and complexity: A dynamical system approach to addressing protracted conflict (3)

Leadership (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5023 Leadership and self-development (3)
  • ORLD 5540 Social entrepreneurship & leadership (3)
  • ORLD 5821 Leveraging emotional intelligence (EQ) to enhance organizational effectiveness (3)
  • ORLJ 5005 Leadership and supervision (3)

Strategy and Management (3 credits):

  • ORLD 4085 Management & leadership skills in practice (3)
  • ORLD 5054 Strategy development as a learning process in organizations (3)
  • ORLD 6054 Learning to think strategically (3)
  • ORLJ 4002 Functions of organizations (3)

Human Resource Development (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5055 Staff development and training (3)
  • ORLD 5062 Human resource development in organizations (3)
  • ORLD 5073 Action learning design and coaching (3)
  • ORLD 5900 Research & independent study in adult lrng (depending on focus; check with advisor) (3)
  • ORLD 6900 Research & independent study in adult lrng (depending on focus; check with advisor) (3)
  • ORLJ 5003 Human resource management (3)

Group Dynamics (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5822 Building productive relationships with social intelligence (SQ) (3)
  • ORL 5362 Group dynamics: A systems perspective (3)
  • ORLJ 5017 Small group intervention: Improving team performance (3)

Organizational Behavior (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5822 Building productive relationships with social intelligence (SQ) (3)
  • ORLA 4010 Introduction to organizational analysis in education (3)
  • ORLJ 4005 Organizational psychology (3) (Note: This is a prerequisite for many ORLJ courses)
  • ORLJ 5045 Organizational dynamics and theory (3)

Technology (3 credits):

  • ORLD 5050 Mobile learning design for professional growth (3)
  • ORLD 5060 Learning and technology in organizations (3)
  • MSTU 4039 Video games in education (3)
  • MSTU 4040 Mobile learning (3)
  • MSTU 4083 Instructional design of educational technology (3)
  • A&H 4089 Aesthetics of technology (3)

Conflict Resolution (minimum of 3 points):

  • ORLJ 5148 Managing conflicts in organizations (3)
  • ORLJ 5340 Adaptive negotiation & conflict resolution (3)

Research Requirements

M.A. (minimum 3 points):

  • ORLD 5073 Action learning design and coaching (3)
  • ORLD 5550 Research on organizational learning (3)
  • ORL 5521 Introduction to research methods in education (3)
  • ORL 5522 Evaluations methods I (3)
  • ORLJ 4009 Understanding behavioral research (3)
  • HUDM 4120 Basic concepts in statistics (3)
  • BBSR 5582 Research design in movement science and education (3)

Elective Courses

Electives include, but may not be limited to, courses in conflict resolution, policy and evaluation, technology for learning, and management/information systems. These are tailored to the student’s career goals and can be taken in the Department or elsewhere in Teachers College or Columbia University. Electives can include transfer courses. Students are required to take a minimum of 6 points total at Teachers College outside of our immediate program area to satisfy the Teachers College breadth requirement.

Final Project

M.A. (Culminating Project)

Required

Guidelines for the M.A. Culminating Project are available in the Program of Study Advisement Guides (as PDF files) located on the Adult Learning and Leadership program website.

Students should meet with their advisor the semester before they plan on graduating to review the guidelines.

The M.A. program in Adult Learning and Leadership is structured around a sequence of core courses, research requirements, and electives. In addition to three required Foundations courses, students may choose courses to take in the following areas: adult development; adult learning theory and applications; program development and evaluation; systems learning; leadership; strategy and management; human resource development; group dynamics; organizational behavior; technology; conflict resolution; and research. At least one course is to be taken in each of these twelve areas no matter what the degree level. Many of these courses are offered by the Program or the Department; other courses can be taken elsewhere in Teachers College or Columbia University.

All required M.A. courses are listed in the general course information. Please see the most recent Program of Study Advisement Guide (located on the Adult Learning and Leadership program website as a PDF file) for actual core sequence requirements.

A culminating project is required. At the M.A. level, the culminating project is usually an application to real-world problems.

Period of Candidacy (Master's Degrees)

Candidates must be formally admitted to a degree program by the Office of Admission. The period of candidacy for the degrees of Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education is limited to five years. Every candidate for the Master of Arts, Master of Science, and Master of Education must complete at least 16 points through Teachers College during the final five-year period prior to the award of the degree so as to meet recency requirements. A candidate may petition the Registrar for an extension of time for adequate reasons if the student has been in attendance in the degree program within the last five years. In such cases, an extension must be recommended by the major advisor and approved by the Registrar. Upon approval, all current degree requirements including the departmental integrative project and at least 16 points to satisfy the recency requirement must be completed. Petitions for extension may be obtained through the Office of the Registrar. If a student has not been in attendance within the last five years and wishes to pursue the completion of the degree, the student must reapply for admission and be accepted into the degree program. Applications for re-admission may be obtained from the Office of Admission. Applications for re-admission follow the same processes and standards as those for initial admission. If a student is subsequently readmitted to a Master's degree program with a period of candidacy after the expiration of the initial five-year period of candidacy, all current degree requirements including the departmental integrative project and at least 16 points to meet recency requirements must be completed.

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